In the early stages of processor design, as in general microarchitecture research, the use of trace- or execution-driven
simulators is well established in the field. These simulators are taken
(largely on faith) to be “cycle-accurate” and until recently were focused
exclusively on architectural performance, measured in
cycles-per-instruction (CPI) or its inverse, IPC. In the academic world,
the most widely used such super scalar processor simulator is SimpleScalar
; another example is RSIM . SMT-SIM  is an example of a well-known
simulator that has built-in support for simultaneous multithreading.
Recently, power extensions to such academic simulators, like Wattch 
have become available. SimplePower  is another example of an academic
power-performance simulator. A recently available temperature model
extension, called HotSpot , that can be used in conjunction with
simulators like SimpleScalar/Wattch is also of increasing popularity.
many industrial R&D groups have their own performance and power-performance
simulator infrastructures -- these are usually proprietary and not available
for use in academic research.
One issue that repeatedly comes up in the context of research that
gets published in the leading architecture conferences, is that of model
validation and accuracy (e.g. [7, 8]). A related issue is that of the
choice of (micro)benchmarks in presenting analysis of ideas using such
simulators (e.g. [7,8,9]). The tradeoffs between accuracy and speed of
simulation is intuitively understood but not adequately quantified in
abstractions that the researcher or industrial designer makes -- either in
modeling or in the choice of input workloads and their driving data input
In this tutorial, we propose to cover all issues related to modeling,
analysis and accuracy of such early-stage (pre-silicon) power-performance
simulators. We will provide a review of prior art, while focusing primarily
on an industrial-strength, PowerPC based power-performance simulation
infrastructure, called PowerTimer [10, 11] that is currently in its
validation phase, prior to release for use by university research groups.
The base performance simulator, called Turandot/MET [12, 13] was previously
validated against a pre-RTL reference model for the POWER4 processor 
and is already available for use on request by academic research groups.
This simulator has recently been upgraded to support simultaneous
multithreading (SMT). The detailed topics covered in this tutorial are:
Basic concepts and methods in trace- or execution-driven simulation,
with examples from currently available simulators (like SimpleScalar and
Basic concepts and methods in power and temperature modeling, with
examples from Wattch PowerTimer and HotSpot.
Analysis of power, temperature and inductive noise (Ldi/dt) using
simulators like Wattch/Hotspot and PowerTimer. Examples of how such
simulators can be used in a pre-silicon setting to provide concrete impact
on processor design choices in an industrial setting will be covered.
Calibration and validation of power-performance simulators, with
analysis of relative versus absolute accuracy; specific new methodology
used in the PowerTimer toolset will be covered in detail after reviewing
prior practices in this area. The issue of (micro)benchmarking and workload
validation will also be touched upon.
D. Burger and T. M. Austin, “The
SimpleScalar Toolset, Ver. 2.0,”
Computer Architecture News, Vol. 25, No. 3, June 1997, pp. 13-25;
D. M. Tullsen, “Simulation and
Modeling of a Simultaneous
Multithreading Processor, Proc. 22nd Annual Computer Measurement
Group Conference, December, 1996. http://www.cs.ucsd.edu/users/tullsen/smtsim.html
V. Tiwari, M. Martonosi, “Wattch: a framework for
architecture-level power analysis and optimizations,” Proc. 27th
Int’l. Symp. on Computer Architecture (ISCA), pp. 83-94, 2000.
N. Vijaykrishnan et al., “Energy-driven
optimizations using SimplePower,” Proc. 27th Ann. Int’l. Symp.
on Computer Architecture (ISCA), 2000, pp. 95-106.
K. Skadron et al., “Temperature-aware
microarchitecture,” Proc. 30th
Ann. Int’l. Symp. On Computer Architecture (ISCA), 2003, pp. 2-13.
R. Desikan, D. Burger and S. Keckler,
“Measuring experimental error
in microprocessor simulation,” Proc. 28th Ann. Int’l. Symp. on
Arch. (ISCA), June/July 2001, pp. 266-277.
P. Bose, T. M. Conte and T. M. Austin,
ed., Special issue of IEEE
Micro on “Identifying design bugs: processor modeling and
validation,” IEEE Micro, vol. 19, no. 3, May/June 1999.
D. Citron, “MisSPECulation: partial
and misleading use of SPEC
CPU2000 in Computer Architecture Conferences,” invited panel
paper, Proc. 30th. Ann. Int’l. Symp. On Computer Architecture (ISCA),
2003, pp. 52-59.
D. Brooks, J-D. Wellman, P. Bose and M.
Modeling and Tradeoff Analysis for a High End Microprocessor,”
Workshop on Power-Aware Computer Systems (PACS-2000), held in
conjunction with ASPLOS-IX, Nov. 2000.
D. Brooks, P. Bose, V. Srinivasan, M.
Gschwind, P. Emma, M.
Rosenfield, “New methodology for early-stage, microarchitecture-level
power-performance analysis of microprocessors,” to appear in IBM
Journ. of Research and Development, Nov/Dec 2003.
M. Moudgill, J-D Wellman, and J. H.
Moreno, “Environment for PowerPC
microarchitecture exploration,” IEEE Micro, vol. 19, no. 3,
M. Moudgill, P. Bose and J. Moreno, “Validation
of Turandot, a fast
processor model for microarchitecture exploration,” Proc. IEEE Int’l.
Performance, Computing and Communication Conf., 1999, pp. 451-457.
14. J. M. Tendler, J. S. Dodson, J. S. Fields, Jr, H. Le, B.
“POWER4 system microarchitecture,” vol. 46, no. 1, 2002.
Zhigang Hu is a Research Staff Member at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center.
He is the lead developer and contact for the most current version of IBM’s
MET/Turandot PowerPC simulator. Dr. Hu received his B.S. (1995) degree from
the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), his M.A. (1998)
degree from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and his Ph.D (2002) degree
in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University. While at Princeton he
was a member of Prof. Margaret Martonosi’s power-aware computer
architecture group, working on a new time-based design methodology and its
application to power reduction in microprocessors, as well as performance
enhancement through cache prefetching. At IBM, he continues to work in that
same field, while maintaining collaborative efforts with Prof. David
Brooks’ group at Harvard and Prof. Martonosi’s group at Princeton.
Email contact: email@example.com
David Brooks is an Assistant Professor at Harvard University. Dr. Brooks
received his B.S. (1997) degree from the University of Southern California
and his M.A. (1999) and Ph.D (2001) degrees from Princeton University, all
in Electrical Engineering. Prior to joining Harvard University as an
Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Brooks was a Research Staff
Member at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. His research interests include
architectural-level power-modeling and power-efficient design of hardware
and software for embedded and high-performance computer systems. He is the
original developer of the Wattch power models currently in use with
SimpleScalar; these were developed as part of his Ph.D research supervised
by Prof. Margaret Martonosi at Princeton University. Dr. Brooks has been
involved in prior tutorials given at ISCA, HPCA and Sigmetrics. Personal web page:
Pradip Bose is a Research Staff Member at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center,
where he currently leads a project on power-aware microarchitectures.
Dr.Bose received his B.Tech (Hons.) Degree in Electronics and Electrical
Communication Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T)
Kharagpur in 1977; and his M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Electrical and Computer
Engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1981 and 1983
respectively. His research interests include computer architecture,
power-performance modeling and validation. He is actively involved in
numerous conference committees and he has started several new workshops and
conference in the field of computer architecture and performance
evaluation, including ISPASS (http://ispass.org), which started as an ISCA
workshop series on performance analysis and its impact on design (PAID),
and the currently offered ISCA workshop series on complexity effective
design (WCED). Dr. Bose has been involved in many prior tutorial and
workshop offerings at all the major architecture and performance
conferences (like ISCA, MICRO, HPCA and Sigmetrics) and is currently the
editor-in-chief of IEEE Micro magazine. He is a senior member of IEEE.
Personal web page: http://www.research.ibm.com/people/b/bose
Note: There are other contributors to the power modeling methodology whose
work influence the PowerTimer project at IBM including: Alper
Buyuktosunoglu, Viji Srinivasan, Scott Neely, Hans Jacobson and several
other summer interns.